How does J.D. Power Rate Initial Quality?

You’ve probably seen a car commercial that totes a car as “Highest rated vehicle for initial quality by J.D. Power and Associates .” So what is J.D. power and how do they rank vehicles? J.D. Power is a global marketing research and survey company that is best known for researching and surveying motor vehicles.

J.D. Power and Associates will send out half-a-million surveys via email asking new-car owners to rate the first 90 days of them owning their vehicle. The questionnaire asks people to rate various elements of their new vehicle and report on any defects or problems that they have had within the first 90 days of ownership. Once all the surveys are collected, J.D. Power will analyze the data and make their rankings.

The problem with these ranking is the subjectivity. Some vehicles with the fewest defects did not score well with quality. How can this happen? Surely vehicles with little or no defects should score higher in quality rating.

J.D. Power measures quality of a vehicle by problems per 100 vehicles. A problem for them is whatever a consumer says is a problem. Problems used to be a production defect like a badly attached mirror or easily torn upholstery. Now problems are more designed based like a voice recognition system that gives a consumer trouble or difficulty connecting a phone to the vehicle’s Bluetooth system.

J.D. Power’s initial quality has very little to do with how well the vehicle was engineered or how well it runs. Be careful when you’re looking to buy a vehicle and it boasts a J.D. Power highest rated initial quality. Do a little bit of research before hand when looking to purchase a new vehicle.